Distance: 27 km
Time: 5h 54m
Speed: 4.6 kmph
Soundtrack: Give it all up by The Corrs
So, the first big pack day is done, and the first crisis is averted.
It’s funny how even though I’m a big planner and kind of a control freak, there’s always something I end up missing. And.. It’s funny how it always works out somehow anyway. I feel like I got several clear signs today that things will be fine and I should trust in the universe.
The most recent one was that I discovered I’d forgotten the part of the charger (for my phone, watch, kindle… ) that plugs into the wall. Meaning basically I couldn’t charge anything, and tomorrow is Sunday and I’m in the middle of nowhere… My lovely man, J, offered to spend 2+ hours each way on public transport to bring it to me. Fortunately he didn’t have to, and here’s where all that trust in the universe stuff comes in. Firstly, the fact that I decided to unpack all of my things before going to the shop, which meant I was able to discover I was missing the charger in the first place, and I got to the store just a few minutes before it closed, AND they had them for sale at this small-town grocery store. Incredible.
Well, that was a little detour.. Let’s circle back to this morning when J followed me to Lelystad to see me off, and I got on the train between sniffles and tears. It only really hit me, minutes before I left, that I would not be coming back for almost a month, an that I was about to leave everything and everyone familiar behind. It was kind of intense. And the urge to just not go was very strong.
But I went… And I had a lovely start to the walk when I met a very happy and enthusiastic puppy that insisted on coming over to say hi to me – as if it knew I really needed that. And after that encouraging start I quite happily strolled through the Dutch countryside for a while.
And when it started raining, I received another sign. I was just thinking about looking for somewhere to use the toilet when I was about to cross over a bridge. It simultaneously started raining and the bridge was opened for a boat to pass through. There were bells and blinking red lights basically screaming at me to look around. And when I did I saw the van Gogh house. To those who know me, the significance of this probably does not escape you. Van Gogh is my favourite artist and I feel a very special and emotional connection to his work. So in I went, and the lady working there told me that Van Gogh came to live in this house for a while just before he started pursuing painting, and by walking along the canal leading up to that house, I’d literally been walking in his footsteps. Amazing. I had no idea.
So, the pack… I actually managed to cut out another kilo, so it’s 17, but that’s still pretty heavy. I’m definitely feeling it in my legs, back and shoulders now, though it was OK for the first half or so. I’m not feeling too bad though, and not hobbling or anything. So walking in my running shoes was probably a good idea. I don’t think my body is going to be super enthusiastic tomorrow when I tell it we have to put the pack on again and do the whole thing over again. And again. And again. But.. I think/hope I’ll get used to it a little more. And the nice thing about carrying the big pack is that people I meet automatically understand that I’m on a longer trip and ask me where I’m headed, so I’ve had a few nice conversations with people I met today about what I am doing and why.
All in all it’s been a pretty good first “real” day, though it definitely feels weird to sit here by myself in my BnB, typing up a blog post on my phone, with my Bluetooth keyboard, instead of at home on the sofa with my laptop, man and cats. For someone who really enjoys her own company, I’m feeling oddly lonely.